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tv   ABC2 News at 530PM  ABC  December 22, 2009 5:30pm-6:00pm EST

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couple hours, partly cloudy skies, temperatures holding in the 30s for the next couple of hours but it will be cooler by tomorrow morning. what with the rest of the week? the forecast coming up in a couple of minutes. baltimore county police are searching for the man who sexually assaulted a woman outside of her north point home. the woman was walking to her car on the night of december 9th. she started to go back in her home and a man with a knife grabbed her, forced her in his car and robbed and sexually assaulted her. police say the suspect has a distinct dark-colored older model car with tan-colored bent seats. >> detectives are hoping someone down there in that area might know who owns this car because there's not many like it and they suspect he's a local man. >> anyone with information should call metro crime stoppers at 1-866-7-lockup. now, for a look at tonight's top stories. baltimore county police are on the lookout for a cat burglar who is targeting the essex area. he's entered eight homes in the past two years and in every case he's gotten to the homes through an unlocked door.
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many of the women in the homes caught the man standing over them as they slept. anyone with information should call the baltimore county police. city police arrested a 19-year-old on murder charges following the deadly stabbing friday night outside of the great blacks in wax museum in east baltimore. a fight broke out on the street near the museum and that's when police think 19-year-old jonathan miller stabbed 20-year-old joshua hargrove. miller was also stabbed but after he was treated he was taken in for questioning and charged with murder. a man was hurt after a fire broke out at a vacant house on harlem avenue. it started 9:00 this morning and took crews 30 minutes to get it under control. during a search crews found the man inside and took him to a local hospital. firefighters say it looks like the fire started on the first floor and spread to the third. no word yet on a cause. next month ocean city plans an emergency beach replenishment project to patch up the town's eroded dune system.
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the beach lost hundreds of tons of sand from the storm but held up ok after last weekend's winter blast. the beach still needs more work. that replenishment program is slated for this spring. christmas eve could be the eve of a new era in health care. democrats are preparing to celebrate an enormous legislative victory as the senate is poised to pass its overhaul of the health care system in the united states. it could mean that the cornerstone of president obama's agenda is almost in place. >> reporter: president obama announced he won't leave for christmas vacation in hawaii until the senate wraps up its work on health care reform. >> the least i can do is to be around and provide the encouragement where necessary. >> reporter: because of gop stall tactics senate democrats aren't expected to pass their highly partisan bill until christmas eve. >> the finish line is in site and now we know with certainty that we have the will to cross
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it. >> reporter: democrats are already taking what amounts to a victory lap, republicans are at their wit's end. >> how did this happen? how did a great national debate that was supposed to lead to a major bipartisan reform lead to a bag full of cheap legislative tricks? >> reporter: the senate bill will still have to be combined with legislation passed in the house, major points to be reconciled? how to pay for it. the house hits those making above a certain income with a surcharge, the senate taxes, expensive health care plans. abortion coverage and the public option. the house bill has one. the senate doesn't. senator christopher dodd insists republicans can still contribute but we did suffer what some might call a freudian slip of the tongue. >> we might still emerge from this process. with a partisan or bipartisan effort on health care. >> reporter: the senate vote on final passage of health care reform has been scheduled for 8:00 a.m. on thursday. it will need 60 votes to pass.
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abc news, washington. >> the 107-year-old atlanta woman praised by president obama during his election speech has died. tonight family and friends are remembering her fascinating life. >> ann nixon cooper is 106 years old. [ applause ] she was born just a generation past slavery. when someone like her couldn't vote for two rns, because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin. >> during the rest of the president's acceptance speech he called cooper an example of the heartbreak and hope of the past century. cooper cast her first ballot ever last year. she died yesterday just a few days shy of her 108th birthday. how about this for an early christmas gift? the housing market seems to be making a comeback. coming up, wrapping up on the nation's economy. plus, looking for a crazy christmas gift?
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a samurai umbrella or snore-preventing pillow? we'll show you where. >> currently in bel air it's 32 degrees outside. temperatures going to drop lower. norm will have the complete forecast coming up. and christmas came early for us at abc2. see all those gifts? because of you and your generosity hundreds of children in maryland will have a very merry christmas and also get to see the dancing elves!
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stocks extended their rally into a third day after a surprisingly strong report on housing. after closing the dow was up 50. the s&p 500 index up four. nasdaq up 15. the gross domestic product grew more slowly than expected in the third quarter of the year but that discouraging report was offset today by news of a boom of sorts in the housing industry. abc's linsey davis has more on the economy. >> reporter: some holiday cheer from the government arrived tuesday in the form of numbers. existing home sales jumped more than 7% in november, the economy grew more than 2% in the third quarter and that was all underscored by five simple words from the president. >> the worst is behind us. >> reporter: after meeting with leaders from small and community banks the president addressed the need to increase
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lending to small businesses. >> here in the white house over the next several months is going to be geared towards catalyzing and spurring additional lending. there remains enormous opportunities as we come out of this recession for businesses to start growing again and to start hiring again. >> reporter: james mcphee, the president of kalamazoo county state bank was among those at the white house for the meeting with the president. >> it's a very difficult situation for a community banker to loan on commercial real estate right now. that's being looked at very carefully, too. >> reporter: this time last year banks were cutting off lending and home prices were plummeting. >> if you look at the home sale rate, from october to november, it increased more than 7% but if you take this november and compare to it a year ago it's up more than 44%. i mean, you really have a very strong momentum in home sales now. >> reporter: many attribute the turnaround to the first-time home buyer tax credit and low interest rate mortgages. as far as the overall economy
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the recovery got off to a weaker start than previously thought but all indications are that will end the year on much stronger footing. linsey davis, abc news, new york. >> headed to the mall for a last-minute christmas gift? what you need to know about buying from the mall kiosks so you don't waste your money. fuels of the future. how things like chocolate and diapers, there's a mix for you, fit into this mix. that's not santa's workshop. that's the abc2 lobby stuffed to the brim with toys. because of you there will be lots of smiles to go around this christmas. cheryl has some special guests with her. >> that's right. this is where it's all coming together. toys have been collected for the month of december. it's the 11th annual kinder time toy drive. the lobby has so many toys that had been collected. i'll have the honor later tonight to see the smile on kids' faces as they receive some of these toys. this effort couldn't done
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without the lawfers across the -- law enforcement officers across the state. what does this mean to you? ? it's outstanding to have the law enforcement community with us to celebrate christmas for those underprivileged. baltimore county, baltimore city, maryland state police, all the jurisdictions. it's wonderful. i look forward to this every year. i've been on the phone with pete for the past couple of days, talking to pete. he calls me at home. we talk and try to get things going. it's just wonderful. i'm glad pete and his family put this together. i'm thankful to be here. >> channel 2 photographer pete o'neal has organized this for 11 years. i would imagine this also helps morale maybe at baltimore county police headquarters? >> yes, but not only baltimore county police, it's all law enforcement. right now a lot of people out here are not getting the tickets, pardon the pun - >> look at them. they are everywhere. in our lobby. i was scared to come to work. >> they are here now.
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they are here for a good thing. later on this evening you'll see smiles on faces. if you're out there you'll see a smile on my face as well. also k-mart -- sorry, wal-mart, wal-mart! whoa! >> after that large truck arrives? let's pan over to the wall bhart friends. did did i say k-mart? wal-mart. i'm sorry, i'm sorry! >> uh-oh, this is your last time on live television. >> i apologize. forgive me. no tickets, no tickets. >> thank you, officer ducet. always a pleasure. we'll join you throughout the evening as the toys get delivered later tonight. back to you. >> i'm captain michelle beech from fort wainwright, alaska. hello to my friends in morrow, maryland. can't wait to see you.
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stumped for a last-minute gift idea? you may find what you need at a holiday kiosk in your local shopping mall but as consumer reporter john matarese tells us, why you need to ask questions, a lot of questions, before you shop there so you don't waste your money. >> reporter: every holiday season i receive complaints about products sold at mall kiosks which raises the question, why do malls allow kiosks? the answer? because they are convenient for busy shoppers and they generate more than $10 billion a year for shopping malls. walk through any mall in december and you'll find dozens of holiday kiosks. but every january come complaints about products that didn't last more than a few days. >> they flew for about two minutes. >> reporter: for shannon long, a toy helicopter that broke christmas day, she tried to return it. >> back to the mall, they were gone. >> reporter: for vicki hite,
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it was a kiosk selling roller shoes. when they broke - >> i took them back a couple of days later, at that point he said that there are no refunds, no return on the money. >> reporter: like many kiosk customers she was stuck. and, from the "doesn't that stink" file, cell phone kiosks that are not really connected with the cell phone provider. why i say doesn't that stink? many are independent dealers, if they close up shop and you have a problem your carrier is not required to give you a new cell phone. i don't want to make a blanket statement saying that all mall kiosks are a bad thing. some, like those wrist watch kiosks are actually super convenient if your watch battery goes dead but with any of them ask about return policies and ask what happens if they close up and move out. so you don't waste your money. i'm john matarese.
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you would not believe the jokes that are running around in the lobby right now. joining me this evening, two very attractive ladies, two of our huge, huge sponsors. stephanie from wal-mart. how are you? >> great, thank you. >> also over here, jennifer, with the developer of the ritz-carltonon downtown. one of our big sponsors. >> thank you. >> tell me, exactly, you've been involved in this for many years now. it's really a pleasure to be able to hook up with a big retailer and have you really get into it with us. >> it's just a pleasure are for us. we have nine stores in baltimore that gather the toys. the community is, our associates live there and we want to help the communities as much as we can. it's just a pleasure to really deliver these toys to the shelters and to children that wouldn't have toys otherwise. it's just a great pleasure to be here with pete. >> thank you so much. we appreciate it. jennifer, you're kind of new on board with the big toy drive that we have every year. what kind of got you involved with it? >> we were doing our own toy
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drive and pete o'neal had contacted me, probably about two weeks ago. and said that i know you guys have all these toys and we would be able to transport them to all the shelters that we had already committed ourselves to. it was a win/win for everybody. we're still making an impact with the children of the city and thrilled to be a part of it. it's a great organization. >> this is your first year here. you wait until you see what happens in about 39 minutes. >> i heard the stories. >> no. you have no idea what is going to be happening. you've got no idea. any how, let's talk about the weather we're going to be having for the next couple days because we've got big plans coming up over the next couple of days running up to christmastime. a lot of people going to wal-mart for shopping. i got that one right. yeah. look at the numbers that we had during the day today. a low this morning of 23 degrees. the high today got up to 38. 36 in york. 37 hagerstown. 25 oakland. ocean city on the boardwalk 43
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degrees. satellite and radar picture, throughout the day today, quite a few clouds around the region but as you can see we had flurries in pennsylvania. they didn't bother us but what we're watching, the precipitation in the ohio valley that is heading here. righ now no precipitation on maryland's most powerful doppler radar. what we're going to be finding in the forecast is a few clouds we've got around the region now will continue to move out of the way and then that rain shower activity in the ohio valley starts making its way in our direction. there is a real good chance that we're going to see precipitation on christmas eve and christmas day. rain or snow in we'll see in the 7-day forecast. partly cloudy, whatever melts today will be refreezing tonight with the overnight low of 21. during the day tomorrow, daytime high tomorrow looking pretty good, 33. mostly sunny and a little cooler. the extended outlook for the next seven days -- as you can see it looks like friday and saturday it will be an all rain situation. if you live in the far northern and western portions of the area, northern carroll county,
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northern harford county, northern baltimore county, looks like an all-rain situation. back in a while with more on the weather and more from our annual toy drive. >> thank you. santa travels on reindeer power, the rest of us depend on conventional energy. lots of brain power is going into changing that. abc's carla wohl has tonight's "in focus" report. >> reporter: it is a road rally like no other. a race where drivers use vegetable oil, wood chips, anything they can scavenge by the side of the road to escape from berkeley. this roadster won the trip to las vegas without using a single drop of gas. dock brown had the idea in back to the future." >> get in the car! >> reporter: 20 years after the movie a modern version of the garbage-fueled car drives the streets of san francisco. >> what we're seeing is a real
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explosion of innovation when it comes to alternative transportation fuels. >> reporter: for example, the british have concocted a race car that runs on fuel made from chocolate, a canadian company developing diaper diesel, literally making fuel from waste. then algae. >> it produces lipids, basically vegetable oil and a lot of it. >> reporter: and across the country beakers across the country are being shaken and stirred of algae. glen kurtz has his in a sort of greenhouse. all it takes to grow is water, sun and carbon dioxide. >> algae, i can go up to 20,000 gallons of oil per acre per year. that is just an open pond system. >> reporter: these alternative fuels are still in the experimental phase. but experts believe in the neck decade they could cut fuel consumption by 10% to 20%. >> i think in 10 years' time just about everyone in the country will have the option of
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using a nonpetroleum fuel. >> reporter: alternative fuels are taking flight. not just in the movies but as this algae-fueled jet proves in reality, too. carla wohl, abc news, los angeles. with a look ahead to abc2 news at 6:00, i'm kelly swoope, a new slots casino could be coming to anne arundel county. where it would be built and what some residents are saying. and an evident to bring health care to all. how many signed on and how to find out if you're eligible. now a preview of "world news" at 6:30. >> coming up on "world news," a brewing storm today over a ruling by a top commander in iraq making pregnancy a punishable offense for male and female troops. here we go again. another blast of ice and snow ready to ruin holiday plans.
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still struggling to buy a gift for the hard-to-buy relative or friend? we have a web site that may help. of course based out of japan. these are wacky gifts. what about a $60 gift that puts you back in the womb? well, maybe a little higher.
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what it looks like a, a breast pillow. only in japan can you find a samurai umbrella. and samurai underwear. just what everyone needs. or a $50 dog bag that eats up more of your cold hard cash. wait, there's more. >> right now it looks like a normal pillow but if i go here and snore -- it starts vibrating. it disturbs your sleep but lets the next person sleep. >> it probably scares people into heart attacks. when it comes to these crazy gifts sometimes it's better to give than to receive. please don't send me anything. to check out go to, click on "links mentioned on air." baltimore ravens players help make the holidays brighter for some needy families in our area. no details on abc2 news at 6:00 which starts right now.
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we begin tonight with a developing story. a new slots casino will be built at arundel mills mall and opened by late 2011. i'm kelly swoope. for folks who live and work in that area they say it's the beginning of a nightmare. they are afraid that slots will bring traffic congestion and also crime to their neighborhoods. rosy is here with more on this story. >> it took months to bring it to a vote but right now the cordish company plans to break ground next year on a new 4,700-machine slots casino. for folks who live in the area they say it will be a sad day for not just their community but for the entire west county area. it is a very busy area. arundel mills boulevard during the holidays carries thousands of cars a day. on the average it carries millions a year. for folks who li


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